Anyone who has followed Stephen Harper's political career should not be surprised by Jim Flaherty's take it or leave it offer to the provinces. And those who fear for the future of medicare should recall what Stephen Harper has said in the past. Back in 1997, as President of the National Citizens Coalition, Harper declared that: "It's past time the feds scrapped the Canada Health Act."
It was all part of Harper's take on the country. Universal public health care was a sign of Canada's second rate status:
Canada appears content to become a second-tier socialistic country, boasting ever more loudly about its economy and social services to mask its second-rate status, led by a second-world strongman appropriately suited for the task.
Like his promises to kill the long gun registry and to get tough on crime, Harper intends to eventually get rid of medicare. Flaherty's ultimatum, Thomas Walkom writes, is the first step:
Stage two has not yet been announced. But it is intriguing to see that Ottawa still wants to continue talking to the provinces about health, even as it insists that the main topic of contention — money — is non-negotiable.
What will they talk about? My guess is “flexibility.” Having warned the provinces that he plans to eventually starve them of cash, Prime Minister Stephen Harper can now tell the premiers that he’ll turn a blind eye if they try to make up this shortfall through creative solutions — even if such solutions (delisting of all but core services? user fees?) run directly counter to the letter and spirit of medicare.
For Harper, talk of flexibility is merely a smokescreen to hide his long held intention. It is all part of his long term plan to remake the country. The prime minister refused to follow his father's wishes and become an accountant. But he has no qualms about putting accountants in charge of the country. And what was that about a "second world strongman?"